“Should I tell my lawyer everything? There are certain things I’d like to keep to myself.”
Even if you’d prefer to keep the purchase of your girlfriend’s ring a secret from your attorney, I would recommend that you change your mind on this issue. Your spouse’s attorney will probably discover this financial indiscretion, and your attorney — instead of being prepared for the situation — will be blind-sided and unable to defend your actions or explain them away. Also, if an indiscretion is revealed for the first time in the courtroom, you can’t help but look bad to the judge. A witness who is discovered to have withheld information often comes across in the courtroom as a liar. It is my belief that once a judge has reason to question a witness’ testimony, that tends to color the court’s judgment throughout the rest of the trial.
Why take a chance? Tell your lawyer the truth, and use his or her expertise and experience to help you solve what might otherwise become a big problem.
Sharon Smolar has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1992. A designee of the 2002 Women of Distinction Award, she practices at The Law Office of Sharon Wechsler Smolar in Boca Raton.